How strong are you?

Spoiler: After reading this article you might want to cancel your gym subscription.


Today, virtually everyone flaunts his abs along with their insanely huge “muscles”. But what use is this when merely two books can render you as weak as a tuft of grass. All this happens, of course, by some very basic principles of science.

Everyone has books at their homes right?

Well take two similar sized books (100 pages each, ideally, more the better) and overlap each page from both the books so they are interlocked somewhat like this:

I know this is very tedious and you might want to skip a few pages, but keep calm and give it your best shot.

Ok, once you are done you have another book (sort of) of about 200 pages. Now comes the fun part (*evil laughter*) try to pull the two books apart by pulling them from the midpoints of the two edges of the books. But, however, hard you may try the books won’t come apart, at least with your human strength. Take a minute and actually try it out you will be amazed at how two books have proven you so weak.

The million dollar question: Why does this happen?

Well the answer is very simple: FRICTION. Friction is, in simple terms, the resistance offered to the motion of a body. The phenomena which helps us perform so many basic functions in our day-to-day life one of which being walking. Back to point this “Force of Friction” is what will render it impossible to pull the books apart.

IT, however, is not impossible to get the books free but the energy required to do so is inhumanly.

To put this into perspective if you were to attach one side of our “device” to a crane and the other to a car (yes a real one), then the car will balance without pulling apart the books. This is the insane amount of force that the books can support.

Some more science if you will, friction has two components namely – static friction (when the body is at rest and is trying to be set into motion) and dynamic friction (friction to the body when it is already in motion). In our little mechanism we only deal with static friction. We can increase the force required by three things : 1) increasing the number of pages that are overlapped (obviously).

2) the not so obvious reason is the force applied itself (well to some extent) this is a characteristic of static friction.

3) the angle at which the pages are, the more the angle the more the force required, this again depends upon the number of pages.

Let the games begin! Enjoy pulling apart books.



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